A missing link in an historic North Okanagan trail will be restored thanks to the recent acquisition of lands by local government.
The City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan will take four acres of land dedicated by a developer on Davison Road for park use, while 3.6 acres of trail right of way will connect the Turtle Mountain and Bella Vista sections of the Grey Canal Trail.
“The development of the Grey Canal Trail has been a passion project for many community members, local government representatives, and avid local trail users for nearly 20 years,” said Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming in a news release.
The land is one of the last privately owned portions along the 35-kilometre trail.
The city said it worked with developer Westco Properties to acquire the park land and trail land.
The Grey Canal was built by Lord and Lady Aberdeen. In 1905, they began an project to move water from lakes on highlands southeast of Vernon, across the Coldstream Valley, and along the benchlands that circle Vernon.
It was completed in 1914, at a cost of $423,000.
The Grey Canal played an important role in the subdivision of ranchlands and orchards.
“Earlier this year, we received a $110,000 grant from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association to develop this section of the trail and install interpretive signage. Now that we have attained ownership, we can put the grant to use and begin trail development in the spring of 2022,” said Akbal Mund, chairman of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.